So you’re looking to book into a studio… First you’ll need to ask yourself – ‘how long will I need?’ and ‘what am I looking to get out of this?’.
If you’re a band or solo artist with a backing band – the latter of the 2 questions should be your main point of focus. If you’re just looking for a demo to give to promotors for gigs asap, then your first point of call should probably be our ‘Demo in a Day’ package.
If you’re looking to establish a good online presence then perhaps recording 3-4 tracks over an extended period of 3 or more days could be more appropriate. This will allow you enough time to ensure that those takes are tight and that we are able to make the most of our resources and knowledge to give each instrument it’s own sonic identity.
Maybe you’re looking to approach record labels with your material… In this case prepare for the long haul because your songs will need that extra shine and sparkle to separate you from the rest of the crowd. If this is the case then we can happily offer our advice and guidance on the best approaches to navigating the music industry as it stands today.
If you are a voice over artist or looking to layer vocals over a backing track (commonly found in hip-hop) then it may be more beneficial to you to book in several hours at a time as opposed to days. If you are recording vocals to a backing track then we would recommend allowing a minimum of 1 hour for recording time and 40 mins-1 hour mixing time per track for a standard arrangement of 1 lead vocal, 2 backing vocals plus 1 ad-libbed vocal.
So the sessions booked in… What now?
!! MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREPARED FOR THE SESSION !!
This means you must know your performance inside and out. Whether you’re performing original music in a band or doing voice over work, any part of your performance that you are unsure of will eat into your time. Also make sure your parts are well within reach of your playing ability, if you are even slightly struggling with a part it will show.. This is especially true with drummers. Drums are the foundation for the entire track. If the drums are shaky, the song is shaky. If you are struggling with a part it is almost always better to go for a simpler part. Don’t ruin the song for the benefit of your ego!
Below you’ll find some pointers for the most common contemporary instruments.
Drums - Sonically the best preparation you can do is to re-skin and tune your entire kit. We’re big fan of Remo Pinstripes for 85% percent of kits – nice, natural and full of tone. Tuning is as vital to drums as it is to guitars, if the kit sounds bad the song as a whole will sound weak, limp and generally unprofessional. Typically a damper sound is preferred to a lively sound especially on toms. A long resonant note can be quite a hard thing to fix in the mix.
Guitars & Bass - Guitars will generally sound better with brand new strings on, this will give them a brighter, more articulate sound with more balanced mids with more pleasing harmonics. Bass however tends to be a more personal and stylistic choice with regard to strings. For bright upfront picked or slapped bass, fresh strings are almost always preferred. However for deeper or more modest tones, i.e. jazz, reggae, heavily worn in strings or ‘flat wound’ strings can be a lot sweeter sounding. This will give a thicker sound with more focus on the bass and lower mid frequencies without the brittle high frequencies intruding on other elements of the mix.
CHECK YOUR INTONATION!! Bad intonation can ruin otherwise perfect takes, especially on the higher registers. If you are unsure then consider popping in to our on-site shop for a set-up.
Vocals – There is common misconception with a lot of singers that all it takes to get a great vocal performance is to just stroll to a mic and let rip! No – your voice is an instrument in it’s own right. It needs care and attention and you will need to warm up your vocal chords to achieve your full potential; just like guitarists and drummers should warm up to achieve optimum results. If you’re recording your voice early in the day then make sure you’re up an extra couple of hours earlier than normal to allow the chords, your throat and lungs to function properly. Also if you smoke then that’s your choice and you’re just going have to deal with the fact that you’re going to need even more time to warm up. If you intend to be recording vocals for an excessive amount of time then please make sure you are giving yourself a rest – 30 mins to 1 hours rest per 4 hours of performance should do it.. There’s plenty of other things that can be done in your resting time; our engineers can be editing takes, guitarists could be recording extra overdubs or we could even start programming an ‘epic’ string section for that bridge. Your time is best spent at peak performance.
New strings and drum heads should applied 24 hours before the session, as a minimum, to prevent tuning issues. Make sure you wear them in too!
Any equipment to help maintain or improve your instruments performance can be found at our on-site shop.
35-37 Tavistock Street
+44 (0) 7743 901 047